Cardiac tissue engineering (CTE) aims to generate potential scaffolds to mimic extracellular matrix (ECM) for recreating the injured myocardium. Highly porous scaffolds with properties that aid cell adhesion, migration and proliferation are critical in CTE. In this study, electrospun porous poly (l-lactic acid) (PLLA) porous scaffolds were fabricated and modified with different ECM derived proteins such as collagen, gelatin, fibronectin and poly-L-lysine. Subsequently, adult human cardiac fibroblasts (AHCF) were cultured on the protein modified and unmodified fibers to study the cell behavior and guidance. Further, the cytotoxicity and reactive oxygen species (ROS) assessments of the respective fibers were performed to determine their biocompatibility. Excellent cell adhesion and proliferation of the cardiac fibroblasts was observed on the PLLA porous fibers regardless of the surface modifications. The metabolic rate of cells was on par with the conventional cell culture ware while the proliferation rate surpassed the latter by nearly two-folds. Proteome profiling revealed that apart from being an anchorage platform for cells, the surface topography has modulated significant expression of the cellular proteome with many crucial proteins responsible for cardiac fibroblast growth and proliferation.
Keywords: cardiac tissue engineering; cell scaffold; electrospinning; extracellular matrix; porous polymeric fibers.